Business

Nov. govt paychecks to include minimum wage increase, back pay

About 3,000 government employees working for minimum wage will see their pay increase this month, as the minimum wage increase, with back pay to July, hits their bank accounts, Financial Secretary Simon Wilson said last week, adding that the government will spend $3 million this month on the change.

He added that all arrears for public officers will be paid as well.

“We built that into our budget,” he said.

Wilson was responding to questions about the government’s  recent pronouncements about a positive first quarter for fiscal 2022/2023. He was asked whether he expects more positive quarters given the government’s increased cost of payroll and increases in energy costs from BPL.

He said the government is making strides in lowering its own electricity costs by implementing energy-efficient street lighting and continuing its rooftop solar projects.

“We have issued an RFP [request for proposal] for rooftop solar, which is a big part of our plan,” said Wilson.

According to him, the government has already completed two rooftop solar projects, and is focused on making more smart investments like solar in order to lower its operating costs.

He said some higher costs that still can be realized from rising oil prices is the cost of producing water for distribution through the process of reverse osmosis.

The Water and Sewerage Corporation produces water through this process at high costs, due to the cost of fuel that runs the engines needed create potable water.

He called maneuvering through possible fiscal headwinds in the near-term a “balancing act”, adding that the government has encouraged its agencies to operate within the budget framework.

He said, though, that even something like a spike in illegal migration to The Bahamas could throw the country’s budget off “by a lot”.

He said the government could pay around $1,000 per person per week in housing, feeding and transporting illegal migrants. 

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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